Itsenko-Cushing’s disease

Itsenko-Cushing’s disease is characterized by dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system and symptoms of increased production of corticosteroid hormones. It is observed at any age, but more often at 20-40 years; women are affected 10 times more often than men.


Tumors of the pituitary gland (micro- and macroadenomas), inflammatory processes of the brain; women often develop after childbirth. Tumors of the adrenal gland (glucosteromas, glucoandrosteromas), tumors of the lungs, bronchi, mediastinum, pancreas that secrete ACTH, the syndrome of ectopic ACTH production cause Cushing’s syndrome, characterized by similar clinical symptom complexes.

Symptoms, course of the disease

Excess fat deposition in the face, neck, torso. The face becomes moon-shaped. The limbs are thin. The skin is dry, thinned, on the face and in the chest area – purple-cyanotic color. Acrocyanosis. The venous pattern on the chest and limbs is clearly expressed, stretching stripes on the skin of the abdomen, thighs, and inner surfaces of the shoulders. Hyperpigmentation of the skin is not often noted, more often in places of friction. On the skin of the face, limbs in women hypertrichosis. Tendency to furunculosis and the development of erysipelas. Arterial pressure is increased. Osteoporotic changes in the skeleton (in severe cases, fractures of the ribs and spine occur). Steroid diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance. Hypokalemia of varying severity. Steroid myopathy and cardiopathy. The number of red blood cells, hemoglobin and cholesterol is increased.

There are mild, moderate and severe forms of the disease; the course can be progressive (development of all symptoms in 6-12 months) and torpid (symptoms gradually increase over 3-10 years).


Radiation therapy. If there is no effect from radiation therapy, one adrenal gland is removed or another course of treatment is carried out. In seriously ill patients, bilateral adrenalectomy is used; after the operation, chronic adrenal insufficiency develops, which requires constant replacement therapy.

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